I sat down last month with Jim Henkens of Marine Area 7 to learn more about him and his Madison Valley business. We sat near the register on a beautiful afternoon. The door was open and Jim graciously answered my questions between tending to customers.
Lindy: Jim, how would you describe Marine Area 7?
Jim: It’s a curated store of things that I find beautiful and functional.
I know you’re a well-respected food photographer. How does your photography and the store work together?
I’ve been a food photographer for ten years. I source the props at flea markets and sales in the US and Europe. I’d accumulated a storage locker of these culinary antiques, but I couldn’t keep using the same stuff, so my wife Jennifer and I thought it would be fun to open a store selling them, along with other unique culinary items. This is my version of a kitchen store, where you can find things you can’t find anywhere else.
I love that you go on buying trips around the world looking for beautiful objects.
I look for vintage items, as those sell the best. We just got back from ten days in Texas at the Round Top antique fair, and we’re about to get our shipment in.
It seems like just yesterday you opened. How long has your store been open?
We opened in December of 2014, so almost two years.
Who are your customers?
Neighborhood people. People in the food and lifestyle businesses – photographers, stylists, and buyers. We’re slowly getting known for larger items such as furniture and fixtures.
I’ve noticed you’re doing private events here. How did that come to be?
I installed a kitchen in the back for my food photography. Once the kitchen was there customers started asking if they could rent the space. It’s a beautiful space for private parties. We’ve done dinners for 10–14 people. I do the cooking or invite a guest chef to cook.
And are you’re doing public events in the shop?”
Yes. We’re trying to do one a week.
Your photos in these books are beautiful.
Thank you. They gave me a lot of freedom with the photos.
Where does the name Marine Area 7 come from?
Marine Area 7 is the San Juan Islands, where we go crabbing. You have to write the name of the marine area on your catch card, and after writing Marine Area 7 so often, it seemed like a natural.
What do you want customers to know about Marine Area 7?
I want them to know that they can find things here that they can’t find anywhere else. What we sell is unique, high quality, functional, and beautiful.